CAMPAIGN groups in County Durham have joined forces against plans to open an “inhumane” new detention centre for women facing deportation.
The Home Office has announced proposals to imprison 80 women, none of them convicted of any offence, at the Hassockfield Immigration Removal Centre in Consett.
Demonstrations against the proposal began in July, and are continuing on the third Saturday of every month.
The groups include No to Hassockfield, Abolish Detention and Hassockfield People’s Assembly.
The coalition said that while detention of any kind should not be used, it argued that Britain is the only member of the 47-member-state Council of Europe to use the inhumane practice of indefinite detention.
Former Labour MEP Julie Ward from No to Hassockfield said: “As a former MEP who served on the women’s rights and gender equality committee I am appalled that given the horrendous situation in Afghanistan, especially for women, and elsewhere in the world, the Home Office is continuing with its plan to open a new women’s detention centre in County Durham.
“We should be offering sanctuary and safety to those who are fleeing war, persecution and extreme poverty.
“Instead, this new detention centre and (Home Secretary) Priti Patel’s new Immigration Bill will needlessly lock up more people and, in this instance, plan to deport more vulnerable women to dangerous and deadly situations.
“I am involved in campaigning against this proposed detention centre and for women trapped in Afghanistan because the issues are interlinked.
“Women here and around the world deserve freedom and dignity, regardless of their background or immigration status.”
The detention centre will be run by privateer Mitie, which also runs Harmondsworth and Colnbrook immigration removal centres.